Ho Chi Minh City

Summer and it’s time for the Great American Trust Fund Indochina Tour. Baggy cargo shorts and sandals, backpacks, and Macbooks. My gramps said that in ’66 it was the same, except instead of cellphones and laptops it was cameras and transistor radios. “Always, though, they don’t want to walk, Americans hate walking. That’s why you […]

The Other Cheek

Lannie told me a story that happened some weeks after the tragedy. That’s what Lannie called it. The tragedy, as though it was some kind of sad movie instead of a mob of white people killing Negroes in the streets, burning down our homes and businesses. Anyway, Lannie and his momma were shopping for groceries […]

Living In The Now

Two AM was prime time for me, my lizard brain in full control, springing into action to arrange the next few hours but nothing after that. Tomorrow was a canyon, a black abyss of regret and consequence that was on its way soon enough. Drunk at 2AM was the essence of Living In The Now, […]

Ghosts

He is at his hotel room door before he realizes he’s forgotten the coffee. Too late now, he thinks, and unlocks the door. She smiles up at him from the bed, then notices his pallor. “My god. What happened?” He feels his knees begin to buckle, collapses into a chair, the sweat running down the […]

You Better Call Tyrone

“Come on, baby. Be reasonable.” “I am sick of your shit, James. This is the last straw. That money was for the Verizon bill.” “You saying you don’t like these shoes? Damn, baby. I did this for you. You always on me to dress better.” “I’m on you to get a goddamn job, James. I’m […]

Finalmente Azarado

Nicote sat with his back against the dank stone, arms and legs weighed down by the immense chains bolted to his ankles and wrists. Ribeiro sat across fom him, similarly bound, his head drooping. Nicote cleared his throat grinned, feeling the gap where the guard’s spear-butt had knocked out his front tooth. “Another tight spot, […]

Gentrification

I was on my way to Essex station to catch the F uptown when I saw Schmecky, buttoned-down in topcoat and bowler as though he just stepped out of a Civil War daguerrotype. “Hey hey! Samuel!” he croaked. We shook hands. Up close he did not look good. Bags under his eyes, deep creases bracketing […]

Father Cares

It was just after eleven when the bell began tolling. The loudspeakers played a recording from the San Francisco Temple days, the whole church singing Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt’s land Tell ole Pharoah to let my people go while Father’s voice, urgent yet  calm, said the words I’d come to dread these […]

Immoveable Object

She lay in bed a long time trying to put it off as long as she could, to summon the will. Not a morning person  she used to say, when there had been anyone to say it to. No reason now to see anyone. The government check came on the fifth every month, ALDI delivered […]

Sudan Dig, 1906

“I say, Petrie. Just in time.” Sir Francis sat in the spreading shade of the tent. He motioned to the servant who carried over a glittering salver on which a pair of cups stood, frost beading the cold pewter. “Gin and quinine, just like we drink in Calcutta.” Petrie removed his pith helmet and swabbed […]